Updated Lung Cancer Screening Guidelines Released

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network releases newest update.

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Guidelines for lung cancer screening were released in late October 2011. Lung cancer remains the leading world-wide cause of death and the 5-year survival rate is a low 15.6%, primarily because most lung cancers are diagnosed at a late stage.

The NCCN panel recommends lung cancer screening for high risk individuals aged 55-74 with a 30 or more pack-year history of smoking tobacco, and if a former smoker, has quit within the last 15 years. Annual screening is recommended for high risk individuals until age 74. Screening is also recommended for high risk individuals aged 50 and older with 20 or more pack-year history of smoking tobacco and one or more additional risk factors. These additional risk factors include a history of cancer or lung disease, family history of lung cancer, radon exposure, and occupational exposure. Routine lung cancer screening is not recommended for individuals at moderate or low risk of developing lung cancer.

The recommended screening test for individuals at high risk for lung cancer is a baseline low dose computed tomography (LDCT) scan. Further diagnostic studies are based on the findings of the LDCT and are outlined in the guidelines. The complete NCCN Guidelines for Lung Cancer Screening are available on the NCCN website at www.nccn.org.